[SoundStage!]Fringe with Greg Smith
Back Issue Article
January 1999

Build Your Own Classic-Rock Station

Ever considered running your very own radio station? It used to be very difficult to do such a thing. You needed lots of records, DJs to select songs and talk about the artists, and lots of radio equipment. No more. Today, it's easy to put together your very own classic-rock station. I'll clue you into the secret formula.

I know you're skeptical. Just assembling a play list seems like an impossible task. But the latest market research shows again and again that classic-rock listeners don't need variety. In fact, you get far more listeners by sticking to only the most popular song or two from each major artist. The following listing gives you every song you'll ever need:

  • Aerosmith: "Dream On," "Walk This Way"
  • Bad Company: "Bad Company," "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy"
  • Beatles: "A Day in the Life," "Come Together"
  • Boston: "More Than a Feeling," "Foreplay/Long Time"
  • Clapton: "Layla," "Wonderful Tonight"
  • Doors: "Light My Fire"
  • Eagles: "Desperado," "Hotel California "
  • Fleetwood Mac: "Dreams," "Don't Stop"
  • Golden Earring: "Radar Love"
  • Heart: "Magic Man"
  • Billy Joel: "Only the Good Die Young," "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"
  • Elton John: "Rocket Man," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
  • Kansas: "Carry on my Wayward Son," "Dust in the Wind"
  • Led Zeppelin: "Stairway to Heaven"
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama"
  • Don McClean: "American Pie"
  • Meatloaf: "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights"
  • Steve Miller: "The Joker," "Jet Airliner"
  • Van Morrison: "Brown Eyed Girl"
  • Pink Floyd: "Wish You Were Here," "Comfortably Numb"
  • Queen: "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • Rolling Stones: "Satisfaction," "Sympathy for the Devil"
  • Santana: "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman"
  • Bob Seger: "Night Moves," "Old Time Rock and Roll"
  • Steely Dan: "Reeling in the Years," "Deacon Blues"
  • 10cc: "I'm Not in Love"
  • Thin Lizzy: "The Boys are Back In Town"
  • Van Halen: "You Really Got Me"
  • War: "Low Rider"
  • The Who: "Pinball Wizard," "Baba O'Reilly"
  • Yes: "Roundabout"
  • Warren Zevon: "Werewolves of London"

That's it! With those 50 songs, you've got all the music you'll ever need. Listeners are guaranteed to hear their favorite song approximately every three hours. How could they resist tuning in?

Now, you might still be thinking about the need for a DJ. Why bother? You see, today's classic-rock listener has been hearing these same songs for decades now. They don't need somebody to chime in and remind them that "Sweet Home Alabama" was written in reaction to Neil Young's "Southern Man"; they know that already. All you have to do is grab a computer and load each of these tracks onto its hard drive. Get some simple software to randomly play the .WAV files you make, and you're in business. This lets you concentrate on the real business issues of being a classic-rock station, namely advertising. Companies love to hit the baby-boomer demographic with promotions, and your station will be an easy sell -- everyone knows exactly what to expect when you say "classic-rock station." Digitize the ads, add them to the computer's play list, and you're ready to go.

So don't let those dreams of being a media mogul pass you by. Make a trip to your local CD store and you can be in business before the day is out. It really is that easy.

(Any resemblance to an actual radio station, like Classic Q104.3 in New York City, is purely coincidental.)

.....GS (gsmith@westnet.com)

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